Looking for intermediate-step Streamer: better than BS Node and not @ Bartok level pricing


I have a BS Node.  Yggy DAC.  BAT electronics, Shunayata PCs, AQ SC, and Vienna Acoustic Beethoven Grand Reference Speakers in a wonderful room. I also have a Linn, Shelter 901 MKII and top of the line BAT phono preamp. It all sounds lovely.  I borrowed a Bartok.  AMAZING!!!  And then I returned it, as I cannot afford that level of playback.  I am interested in upgrading my STREAMER -- I think.  (Yes, I know I could upgrade my fuses, room treatment, and everything else I own....)

I am curious to learn if there is a MID-POINT step that others suggest before I spend $25K on the ultimate STREAMER/DAC setup when I retire in a zillion years.  It seems absurd that my system is dependent upon a $550. piece of equipment.  


I am looking for natural sound.  3-D.  I listen to jazz, classical, and rock from the 60s-90s.  No club music/ insane bass.  When the Bartok was in my system, I felt like I was listening to vinyl.  What might be a good landing place for the next DECADE or so??

Thanks in advance.



OP - I replaced a BS Node with an Aurender N100SC and the Aurender completely destroys the Node in every respect. The same DAC (Border Patrol DAC SE) and cable (Oyaide DR510) were used with each streamer, so it was an apples to apples comparison.

N100s are going for around $1500 +/- a few hundred right now. You have a pretty healthy budget, so you can go for something even better (N150 or N200). Any of these will be a drastic improvement. Will it be a Bartok-level improvement? I have never heard one, so I can't say.

@mitch2   Unfortunately I don’t have experience with the Pulse and not many do as it’s a relatively new model, and there are frustratingly few reviews of any of the Pulse-series streamers so they’re still a bit of an unknown but likely to share many sonic characteristics of the Zen and Zenith.  I recommended the Pulse due to Innuos’ reputation for good sound along with a really excellent app that some have even abandoned Roon for.  Frankly, in your price range I’d look at Innuos and Aurender and choose the one that offers the features/sound you’re looking for.  Sorry I can’t be more help. 



I really feel the Innuos Pulsar would be a very good option for you to consider. It is just a streamer and has an Integrated PhoenixUSB Lite Reclocker .



I was in a similar boat and wanted a streamer that sounded better than the RPi and Node. Was going to try the Primare NP5 but went with the Lindemann Bridge II.

It’s a German brand. Looks like a little box but don’t be fooled, high end engineering. Noticeably better sound. Lindemann also have one of the best apps in the streaming game.

I then upgraded the power supply to a price appropriate match, the Farad Super 3, which raised things again.

I don’t know how well this combo competes with expensive streamers. But it killed, for example, the streaming section of the Naim Uniti Atom Headphone Edition, which was a shame because that product was so cool, but the Naim internal streamer could not even come close to the Lindemann/Farad combo.

@norust I wonder if you've had an opportunity to receive the N200 and give initial impressions. Inquiring minds and all.